The Skoda Karoq, a compact SUV with a big future - take a look at what makes the all-new Karoq such a big (or great) deal.
Avoiding as many coffee gags as we can during this review – the Vauxhall Mokka X has been quite a big hit here in the UK, despite its odd name and uninspiring looks. The compact SUV isn’t a car you look at and think ‘phwoar’, but it is competitively priced and packed with good equipment. So, maybe that’s why the British car buying public have spent so much of their hard-earned cash on it? The real question, though, is it any good?
Let’s try to be nice – the Mokka X isn’t exactly going to be walking away with any beauty pageant awards, is it? Styled quite generically, but keeping a distinctive ‘Vauxhall’ face, it never looks in proportion, no matter which angle you approach it from. Rivals, like the new Skoda Karoq, or Seat Ateca are much better-looking cars in this segment of the market.
Once you open the doors things get better; the interior space is the same as you’d find on other Vauxhall models, and while that might not be the most exciting statement ever made, it’s far from being a bad thing. Comforting, supportive seats, a dashboard focused around the touchscreen infotainment system, and controls where you’d expect controls to be, round off a decent interior space.
On the road
The Mokka X comes with the choice of one of the newer 1.6-litre ‘whisper’ diesel engines, which are impressive units. You can get it in two strengths, but we’d go for the double-shot – sorry, couldn’t help ourselves – 136ps engine as it’ll probably get you over 55mpg but it’ll still deliver enough punch to see you passing slower cars on the road. There are petrol powered engines on offer, but we’d pass up on them as the Mokka X comes with four-wheel drive. What’s more, the low-range torque of the diesel engine will be useful for a little lightweight – or skinny – off-roading.
As a compact SUV, the Mokka X drives sort of like you’d expect, but it perhaps isn’t as good to drive as some of its rivals. Honda’s HR-V is stronger in this area, simply because it feels more planted and smoother, while the Mazda CX-3 holds the edge in terms of sporty potential and overall driving enjoyment. The Mokka X is just very average in the driving department, never touching the sporty highs of the CX-3, nor the smooth ride of the HR-V. That leaves it in a bit of a sticky situation, because in a segment that’s so competitive, giving away major points in the driving dynamics area leaves you well down the running order. Gulp.
Perhaps the Mokka X can claw back some ground here in the practicality segment? 356-litres of boot space are on hand to load your belongings into; that’s enough for more than a few bags of beans and some milk to froth up. Vauxhall has also made sure that when the rear seats fold down, they go flat. That means you can start to think about transporting sacks of beans (if you own your own café) into the 1,372-litre load space that opens up. In the human storage areas, you’ll find there’s good headroom and relatively decent leg room in the back seats. And the chairs in the front are comfortable and feel quite light, thanks to the sloping windscreen.
This is undoubtedly one of the Mokka X’s best bits. Equipment levels in Vauxhalls have been good for some time now, and the new Mokka X gets a good smattering of tech to go with it, too. Adaptive LED headlights, four-wheel drive, a rear-view camera, hill-start and hill-descent control assistance, and Vauxhall’s concierge system ‘OnStar’ are available to either select or come as standard. OnStar gives you access to an advisor 24/7 who can assist you in the event of an emergency, or just if you need some general advice. It also provides Wi-Fi in the car for up to seven devices. Very modern!
The verdict, from Carsnip’s Editorial Chief, Tim Barnes-Clay:
You can’t accuse the Mokka X of being a bad car because that’s simply not the case. It’s a strong contender in a very competitive sector of the market. It’s just a matter of whether it does enough to justify buying it above one of its accomplished challengers. Only the buyer will really know what they prefer, but we think we’d be taking a good look at the Skoda Karoq as the more appealing buy here.
- Competitively priced
- Generous Kit
- Supportive Seats
- Ungainly Looking
- Dull Drive
- Bland Image